Resources for Certified Officials
Location: Mizzou Aquatic Center, Columbia, MO
Referee: Amy Hoppenrath firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes: THE TIME LISTED IS APPROXIMATE. The clinic will be held at the start of the distance events during the Region 8 Long Course sectional meet.
All participants are encouraged to take the applicable online officials' tests prior to attending a clinic. The online officials' tests are located on the
USA Swimming website. The
USA Swimming Rule Book should be used to find references for the answers to the online tests. Please bring a copy of your test scores to the clinic.
If you are not currently registered you will also need to complete a USA Swimming Registration Form and pay the registration fee. Your registration may be completed using our online registration form or a
printable form can be mailed along with your payment. Please have your registration form and payment sent to the MVS Office prior to the clinic so your registration can be processed in time.
ConocoPhillips Outstanding Service Award
Past Recipients from Missouri Valley Swimming (3/16/11)
News and Announcements
Missouri Valley Administrative Official
How to Become a Missouri Valley Stroke & Turn
Officials Certification Tests and Clinic Attendance (12/4/08)
Required Tests for New and Recertifying Officials (12/4/08)
Name Tags for MVS Officials (10/19/07)
USAS Initiates Background Screening Program (12/6/06)
Registered Officials Monthly Newsletter (10/28/05)
USAS Registration Required for All Meet Officials (10/28/05)
New Location for Officials Tests (6/7/05)
Notice Regarding Meet Marshals (3/15/03)
Nominate an Official for Maxwell Excellence Award (10/23/02)
Rule Changes and Clarifications
USAS Rule Interpretation for Article 305.5.1
Clarification of Restriction for Two Swimsuits During Competition (3/26/09)
Use of Multiple Swimsuits During Competition (3/18/09)
USAS Rule Change for Racing Starts (3/18/09)
New USAS Interpretation of Swimwear Design Rule (1/22/09)
Interpretation of USAS Rule for Breaststroke Turns (12/11/08)
Design of Swim Wear and MVS Warm-up Procedures (10/10/08)
Amended Rule for Teaching Racing Starts (2/18/07)
USAS Interpretation of Amended Breaststroke Rule (2/22/06)
Amended Rules for Breaststroke and Backstroke (9/23/05)
USAS Rule Amendment Regarding Pace Devices (6/5/04)
Rule Change for Minimum Water Depth (12/6/03)
Rule Change for Backstroke Starts (11/16/03)
Minimum Water Depth for Racing Starts (11/1/01)
Other Information and Publications
Stroke and Turn Judge Checklist (3/2/06)
Starter Checklist (3/2/06)
Referee Checklist (3/2/06)
Chief Judge Checklist (3/2/06)
Administrative Referee Checklist (3/2/06)
Recommended Stroke Briefing (3/2/06)
National Certification Program for Officials (3/2/06)
Transitioning to National Officials Certification (3/2/06)
USAS National Officials Certification Matrix (3/2/06)
Certification Levels for National Officials (3/2/06)
Recertification Requirements for National Officials (3/2/06)
N3 Starter Final Evaluation (3/2/06)
N3 Referee Final Evaluation (3/2/06)
Evaluation Guidelines for N3 Officials (3/2/06)
National Officials Evaluation Worksheet (3/2/06)
USAS Officials "Qualifying Meet" Application (3/2/06)
MVS Request for National Officials Evaluation (3/2/06)
Situation: Check-in Procedures (12/2/08)
Situation: Disability Swimmers (3/2/06)
Situation: Referee/Admin Referee (3/2/06)
Situation: Starter/Deck Referee (3/2/06)
Situation: Stroke & Turn (3/2/06)
Maxwell Trophy Award Letter (3/2/06)
USAS Handbook for Officiating
10 Points of Self-Evaluation
Clarification of Whistle Starts
There have recently been a number of questions regarding the use of two swimsuits during competition. Although the USA Swimming Rules & Regulations do not specifically address this, FINA has
interpreted its General Rule GR 5.3 to allow the use of only one swimsuit during competition. USAS Rules & Regulations require that USA Swimming’s technical swimming rules conform to those of
FINA. In order for the USAS interpretation to conform to that used by FINA, the following interpretation is being made, effective immediately.
For purposes of Article 102.9 of the USA Swimming Rules & Regulations, Swimwear, the use of more than one swimsuit at a time during any USA Swimming sanctioned or approved competition is
Effective May 1, 2009, USA Swimming’s Board of Directors has modified the racing start rule, 103.2.2 (which already provides that racing starts should only be taught in at least six feet of
water) to further clarify that racing starts should only be taught under the direct supervision of a USA Swimming member coach, and to expand the definition of teaching racing starts to make
clear that no swimmer who has not been certified as proficient by his or her coach should be performing racing starts into less than six feet of water.
The following USAS documents will help explain this rule change:
Please keep in mind that the only change to this USAS rule is that there is now a requirement for a coach to document, by means of a checklist, the fact that in their professional judgment a
swimmer has been taught how to properly execute a racing start. The requirement to teach swimmers to properly execute racing starts has been in place in our rules for a long time, with or
without a checklist. The procedures that should take place at a meet are no different now than they were before the checklist was implemented. Coaches should be doing whatever they were doing
in the past with respect to swimmers who had not yet been taught to properly execute a racing start. The checklist does not change a thing except to require a coach to document the process and
there is no need to add any additional procedures at a swim meet as a result of this. If you need further information or clarification, please let me know.
Bruce W. Stratton
Chairman, Rules & Regulations Committee
At its last meeting, the USA Swimming House of Delegates adopted an amendment to its rule on swimwear design. The purpose of the amendment was to address the impact on the sport of requiring
young athletes to buy very expensive high performance suits in order to feel like they are competing on a level playing field. While the rule was never intended to discriminate, it could be
viewed as having a discriminatory effect on swimmers whose religious beliefs require them to cover more of their bodies than is permitted by the newly amended rule, or those swimmers whose
medical conditions require them to avoid direct sunlight exposure to their skin. To rectify these unintended consequences, a new interpretation of the amended rule has been issued.
Click here to read the USAS Interpretation.
In 2005 FINA made changes to the technical rules for breaststroke, which allowed a single downward butterfly kick during or at the end of the first arm pull after the start and after each
turn. As required by USAS Rules, the USAS technical rules for the breaststroke were changed to conform to the changes made by FINA.
During the time since the change, there has been much confusion about what constitutes the beginning of the first arm pull. Based upon the USAS Rules and Regulations Committee’s
understanding of FINA’s interpretation and actual practice in international competition, USAS’s guidance has been that the mere separation of the hands or arms does not necessarily constitute
the beginning of the first arm pull.
However, USAS has been informed that FINA’s interpretation is now different from USAS’s previous understanding of what constitutes the beginning of the first arm pull. In order for USAS’s
interpretation to conform to that used by FINA, the following interpretation is being made, effectively immediately.
For purposes of Article 101.2.3, as it relates to what constitutes the initiation of the first arm pull and the allowed single downward butterfly kick, the following applies:
After the start and after each turn, any lateral or downward movement of the hands or arms is considered to be the initiation of the first arm pull.
There seems to be a lot of confusion as to how we are to certify and recertify as officials. All officials, including Referees, will be required to attend a clinic bi-annually, that has been
scheduled ahead of time, given for their specific level of certification. Currently, the only Referee Clinics are presented at the Spring and Fall MVS semi-annual meetings. Several S&T/Starter
clinics are presented in various areas of the LSC, at different times of the year. If your area needs a clinic scheduled, contact the Officials’ Chair for details and scheduling. The only
exception to bi-annual clinic rule pertains to “Seasonal Officials.” Seasonal Officials are required to attend a clinic every year.
All Officials are required to take, and pass with an 80% or better, the online tests for officials. These tests are available on the USA Swimming web site. See “Required
Tests for New and Recertifying Officials” in this Section for a complete schedule of tests for Officials. Effective immediately, all recertifying officials, except Referees will take the
new combined Stroke & Turn/Timer exam. All recertifying Referees will only take a single Re-Certification Referee test, comprising 100 two-part questions. All tests are valid for a period of
two years from your test date. Failure to re-test when required shall void your LSC certification, and require you to complete the full battery of tests as a new official, and 6 training
sessions during at least two meets.
It has come to my attention that there are several clinics still being offered that have not been approved ahead of time. If you are scheduled to give a clinic, please email me at
email@example.com to let us know that the clinic is being offered and to get the clinic code that is needed by the officials taking the tests.
Also, these clinics are to be held giving the information that the officials need to take the online tests successfully. This information includes: clinic date, what tests they are required to
take based on the position they are certifying for, where to go to take the tests, filling out the front page at the USAS site, where to look for help when there are problems with entering the
information, as well as information on strokes and rules based on the level of the clinic. The training official needs to contact me to get this information. These clinics are supposed to be
designed to learn the rules, and get answers to questions encountered at meets, as well as other areas that need to be covered. Simply going over the tests at the clinic has not been acceptable
for several years! The USAS S&T Video and Starter Video are the only authorized video presentations that may be used in clinics. If clinicians would like a printed copy of any tests offered,
along with the answers for use in their clinic, please contact the MVS Officials’ Chair.
After completing an official's clinic, you may take the USA Swimming Officials' tests online. These tests are
available on the USA Swimming website. When arriving at the USAS site, click on "Volunteers" in the top menu, then "Officials" from the left menu on the next page, then once again on "Officials Test Online" from the left side menu.
||REQUIRED TESTS FOR NEW CERTIFICATION
|Clerk of Course
||Key: "R" = Take Re-Certification Test 'X" = Take Entire Original Test
||REQUIRED TESTS FOR RE-CERTIFICATION|
|Clerk of Course
Key: "R" = Take Re-Certification Test 'X" = Take Entire Original Test
When re-certifying at your current level, it is only necessary to take the re-certification tests, but you must take the re-certification tests for all
tests that apply.
This test is designed to be a learning experience and is an open-book
test. You may download and print a copy of the rule book from this website, so you can take the test at your leisure
then enter the answers later (be careful and check for accuracy when
transferring your answers from paper to the online test). For each
question there is a minimum of two answers -- the answer to the question,
and the rule book references for the answer. Many questions have
as many as three answers to the rule book references. For the online tests, the
answers are multiple choice and the possible references are noted in the answer.
Test results will be determined automatically by computer scoring. The results
will be sent online to the individual taking the test, and to the LSC's Officials'
In the test sign-in sheet, there is a question asking for the date of the clinic
you most recently attended and a code number for that clinic. Be sure to enter the
date and code you were given at that clinic.
At an LSC competition the official meet information expressly included the phrase, “Positive check-in by 5:00 pm Saturday is required for the 800 and 1500 Freestyle events on Sunday.” No
additional information was given regarding the check-in procedures. A couple of coaches did not check in their athletes prior to the deadline for check-in, but later wanted their athletes to
participate in the events. After initially agreeing to allow the additional entries, the referee changed his mind when other coaches protested that to allow the swims would violate the check-in
procedure stated in the meet information. Ultimately the referee decided the athletes could swim, but they would not be scored in the event, and the swims would be treated as a time trial for
those affected. Correct Ruling?
Answer: No. Article 102.3 of the Rulebook states “Meet announcements and advance information shall specify check-in and scratch procedures for individual and relay events and
penalties for violation of those procedures.” Because the meet announcement did not state any penalty for failing to check-in by the deadline the swimmers should have been allowed to swim
and score in the events.
The USAS House of Delegates recently passed a change to the rule governing the design of swimwear worn in competition. The Missouri Valley House of Delegates unanimously passed essentially
the same rule BUT CHANGED the age to 14 & Under and made it effective immediately. Please note the following rule change:
Amendment to USS Rule 102.9 "Swimwear" (effective October 4, 2008)
A. Swimsuits worn for all 14 & Under age group defined competition shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor past the knee.
The MVS House of Delegates also passed a change to the MVS rules governing Safety Guidelines and Warm-up Procedures. This rule change is also
effective October 4, 2008.
D. Missouri Valley Safety Guidelines and Warm-Up Procedure
4. Options for General and Specific Warm-Up Periods
b) Option 1:
i) General Warm-Up Period
(b) Swimmers must enter the pool by stepping in feet first, or sitting and sliding in, in a safe and cautious manner. Entering in any
other manner may result in the disqualification from one or more of the swimmer’s events for that session.
All referees and coaches should be aware of this change and the appropriate language inserted into any meet information submitted for MVS
Pursuant to USA Swimming Rule 504.8, the USA Swimming Board of Directors has decided to amend Rule 103.2.2 (page 43 of the 2007 Rules & Regulations) which specifically applies to teaching racing starts to provide as follows: 103.2 WATER DEPTH - .2 /M/ Teaching Racing Starts - Minimum water depth for teaching racing starts in any setting from any height starting block or the deck shall be 6 feet (1.84 meters) measured for a distance of 3 feet 3-1/2 inches (1.0 meter) to 16 feet 5 inches
(5.0 meters) from the end wall. This decision has been made with the advice and consent of the Safety Education Committee, the Rules and Regulations Committee, and legal counsel. The purpose of this action is to further protect novice swimmers from accidental bottom strikes while they are learning to execute racing starts. This change is effective immediately. Please direct any questions about this announcement to Bruce Stratton, Chairperson of the Rules & Regulations Committee, at
This past September, the 2006 USAS House of Delegates adopted legislation to require background screening as a condition for coach membership and approved implementation of this requirement for the 2007 membership year. All coaches are subject to this requirement and must initiate a screening on or before their LSC deadline.
In order to maintain your 2007 USA Swimming coach membership in good standing, you are required to complete the new USA Swimming Background Screening process on or before April 13, 2007. To successfully accommodate the 10,000 individuals who must be screened, all 2007 coach members must fulfill the screening requirement according to a roll out schedule. Members are asked to adhere to the schedule and initiate their background screen only during their LSC assigned period or during the two
open periods. Missouri Valley's assigned period is April 2-13. The two open periods are December 4-22, 2006 and February 19-March 23, 2007. All Missouri Valley
non-athletes must initiate a background screen on or before April 13, 2007. For more information and instructions for initiating this required background check, see the USAS announcement. Once you have reviewed the information, go to the USAS Background Screening
website to initiate your background screen.
The Rules Committee of USA Swimming announced changes to the technical rules for the breaststroke and backstroke. These changes amend Articles 101.1 and 101.3 of the USAS Rules and Regulations to comply with recent changes made by FINA. Please note that these amended rules are effective as of September 21, 2005. [Amended USAS Rules]
Information received in Referee Reports continue to show that many individuals working as officials at MVS meets are not registered members of USA Swimming. It's very important to realize that
all officials, except timers and runners, working at an MVS sanctioned meet MUST be registered members of USA Swimming.
Our swimmers have what is viewed as the best insurance coverage in the world of youth sports. USA Swimming has its own captive insurance company which provides excellent secondary insurance to
cover any injuries incurred in a MVS sanctioned meet, practice or activity. That insurance is paid for by athlete and non-athlete registrations.
When an individual works as an official at a sanctioned meet without being a registered member of USA Swimming, that individual places every swimmer and every other official working the meet
in jeopardy if a catastrophic event were to occur. Such an action leaves every one participating in the meet open to legal action and could void the insurance coverage for participating
Those officials who must be registered members include: Meet Directors, Referees, Starters, Stroke and Turn Officials, Timing Judges, and Meet Marshals. Lane timers, runners, and
scoring table officials need not be registered. Coaches must be registered as Coach Members of USA Swimming with the appropriate safety and first-aid certifications.
Please remember that your reluctance to pay your membership dues may well end up jeopardizing the very people you are there to support!
For those officials that still need to take their new certification or recertification tests, those tests are now located on the USA Swimming website. To access the tests, go to the USA Swimming website, click on "Volunteers" in the top menu, then on "Officials" from the left menu on the next page, then once again on "Officials Test Online" from the left side menu.
If you have not yet taken a test from the USAS site, you will need to first register and create an account with USA Swimming. Directions for setting up an account can be found on the USAS online tests page.
During a USA Swimming meeting in Seattle on June 4-5, 2004, the Rules and Regulations Committee addressed the need to amend USS Rule 102.10 "Disqualifications" to conform with FINA Rule SW 10.15. Specifically this dealt with the use of a pace device during competition. The rule amendment and interpretation is listed below. Should you have specific questions about this rule please contact the committee chairman, Don Hart, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMENDMENT TO RULES TO CONFORM TO FINA RULES
Effective June 5, 2004
BACKGROUND REGARDING PACE MAKING DEVICES
FINA has recently determined that certain wearable radio receivers that have recently been brought to market are not permitted. These devices, designed to be worn by swimmers in the water, can transmit information from a coach or someone else on deck. FINA rule SW 10.15 with language prohibiting pace making is the basis for this FINA determination. The Rules & Regulations Committee has conformed our rules to those of FINA.
.10 No swimmer is permitted to wear or use any device or substance to help his/her speed, pace or buoyancy during a race. Goggles may be worn, and rubdown oil applied if not considered excessive by the Referee.
The official interpretation of 102.10.10 as amended to conform to FINA rule SW 10.15 is that no mechanical or electronic device that can convey pace or speed may be worn in competition.
Article 510.1 states in part that “the Rules & Regulations Committee may alter, amend or repeal any portion of Part One at any time to conform to the rules of the Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA).”
The USA Swimming Rules & Regulations Committee approved the change to USA Swimming 102.10.10 and the interpretation, both shown above, on June 5, 2004, effective immediately.
Last year, the USA Swimming Official's Committee, Swimming
World Magazine, and Maxwell Awards initiated a program to recognize local
officials for their efforts and service to swimming. So far, no one from
Missouri Valley Swimming has been recommended to the LSC Officials' Chair for
this recognition. Please nominate anyone you
feel has made a positive contribution to the LSC competitive program in the
current season. A printable nomination form is available in the "E-Forms" section.
This is a heads up to everyone that the following change will become
effective on January 1, 2003. Both the Safety Education Committee
and the Rules & Regulations Committee have endorsed this proposed
language and the Board of Directors will convene a special meeting to
make it official. All clubs will now be required to impose
alternative starting procedures (from the deck or in-water) at
facilities not in compliance with this new 4-foot minimum water depth.
Official notice will be mailed to the appropriate people once this
change is approved. This action is being taken under the authority
of Article 505.8 in the Code and will be in effect until the next
meeting of the House of Delegates. The new wording will be as
103.2 WATER DEPTH -
..3 /M/ Racing Starts -
A In pools with water depth less than 4'0" (1.22 meter) at the
start end, ... ... ... ... within the water.
C Renumber to B
For more information, contact:
Director, USS Central Zone
57 East Belmeadow
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022
As a result of the Safety Education Committee of USA Swimming on April
26-27, 2002, all MVS sanctions for meets not yet held MUST BE AMENDED.
It is NOT permissible to use either Ellis or American Red Cross-Trained
Lifeguards as Meet Marshals UNLESS each such lifeguard is ALSO a member
of USA Swimming. It is only a member of USA Swimming that is permitted
to be a Meet Marshal.
Please also remember the directives from the Meet Marshal's Safety Guidelines issued in June 2001. Every Meet Marshal MUST wear some readily identifiable attire indicating their status as a Meet Marshal.
USA Swimming recently issued a revision their rules for proper
backstroke starts. This change was made to conform to FINA Technical
Rules and is considered a minor change.
The revised rule now states that the toes or foot may come out of the
water while moving up the pad or wall after the starting signal,
provided the toes do not curl over the lip of the gutter and no part of
the foot stands in the gutter. There is no change in guttered pools in
which the water level is right at the lip of the gutter. This change has
potential application in flat wall pools with no gutters or in guttered
pools in which the water level is below the lip of the gutter. Standing
in or on the gutter or curling the toes over the lip of the gutter is
still not permitted. View the full text of this rule change.
Referees, please inform your meet officials of this change at your next
and all subsequent meets. This change is now in effect for all USA
Swimming sanctioned meets.
At its recent convention,
USA Swimming adopted new rules regarding the depth of water whenever racing starts are
being used. The new rule stipulates that:
First, whenever racing starts are being taught, a minimum water depth must be maintained when teaching racing starts in any setting and from any height of starting blocks, or the
deck shall be at least 5 feet, measured for a distance of 1 meter to 5 meters when measured from the end wall. In other words, to teach racing starts from the deck or from any starting
block, the water must be a minimum of 5 feet deep when measured from 3 feet out from the end of the wall through 5 meters from the end of the wall. If the water is not at least 5 feet
deep for that distance, YOU CANNOT TEACH RACING STARTS IN THAT AREA.
Second, for racing starts during practice or in competition, the rules continue to depend on the height of the blocks relative to the depth of the water:
- For water that is less than 4' for a distance from 1 meter to 5 meters from the start end, ALL SWIMMERS MUST
START IN THE WATER. No diving is allowed.
- For water that is less than 4' for a distance from 1 meter to 5 meters from the start end, any starting block must be no more than 18" ABOVE THE WATER SURFACE.
- For water that is deeper than 4' at the start end, starting blocks must comply with Rule 103.11.1 of the USA Swimming Rules.
This Rule takes effect on November 1, 2001 and is in effect for all Missouri Valley Swimming meets, intrasquads and practices.
Hasty Awards of Ottawa, Kansas, has developed an Official's name tag
that can be used by all MVS officials. The tags are 3-1/4" long by
1-1/4" high with white engraving on a blue background. The MVS logo will
also be engraved on each tag along with the official's first and last
name. The cost of each name tag is $5.95 and can be ordered online through the Hasty Awards website at